Portugal Vs Spain Euro 2012 Semi Final -Watch it on BBC One with radio coverage on BBC Radio Five Live – Match to be played at Donbass Arena, Donetsk – Wednesday, 27 June Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Portugal coach Paolo Bento will have to change his starting line up for the Semi Final of a successful Euro 2012 campaign. The last four games his starting eleven has stayed the same, but come Wednesday he will be without the injured Helder Postiga, making way for Hugo Almeida to deputise. Vicente Del Bosque has no official injury worries, but has discussed how tired his players are in numerous press conferences so may choose to shuffle his pack with Fernando Torres pushing for a starting berth.
Perhaps surprisingly, Portugal will go into this match with the better record out of the two nations historically, and have been beaten by the Spanish only twice in the last 54 years. However, it will be tough to look beyond world champions Spain with their wealth of talent as we go into this clash between fierce rivals.
Cristiano Ronaldo will once again take centre stage, the Portugese forward of course place his club football in Spain with Madrid, and knows many of the Spanish squad well. Portugal have struggled to shake the title of one man team with Cristiano dominating proceedings on and off the field, but who would have expected anything else? One man team may be a harsh branding of a squad laced with quality, but that quality does fade into insignificance when compared to the all star cast that is the Spanish football squad. That said, the Spanish haven’t quite hit their dizzy heights yet, and nothing is predictable at this stage of a major tournament.
We expect that The Spanish will dominate come Wednesday night, and the opta stats do stack up in their favour, the Spaniards have completed twice as many passes as the Portugese in this tournament. The possession stats certainly could be embarrassing, but not as embarrassing as if the Spanish fail to capitalise, and with the pace of Nani and Ronaldo always threatening on the break, Spain will need to be switched on to live up to their credentials.
Portugal don’t have the best record in the Euros, and have lost four of the five semi finals they have reached in the competition. Spain, the reigning champions, will definitely be favourites, but dont be surprised to see a tight encounter between these two European neighbours.